Coastal Ireland Tour – 11 Days
Day 1 - Depart USA to Ireland
Tonight you begin your journey as you board your transatlantic flight bound for the Emerald Isle. Enjoy dinner and a movie on board. You will awaken to your first glimpse of the island of Ireland as we glide in over Dublin Bay.
Day 2 - Dublin to Belfast
On arrival in Dublin our friendly Irish tour director will be there to greet you. After breakfast we head north to Belfast. Ulster is a land of Blue Mountains and forest parks, lazy lakes and windswept moors, white Atlantic sands, and inland sea. In fact, it’s a province that is just pretending to be small. Distinctive field patterns, for instance, are especially striking, and so are ruined castles. Built from the 12th century onwards, and once symbols of both oppression and reassurance, they are now among Ulster’s finest architectural treasures. Belfast was the engine-room that drove the whirring wheels of the industrial revolution in Ulster. The development of industries like linen, rope-making and shipbuilding doubled the size of the town every ten years. The world’s largest dry dock is here and the shipyard’s giant cranes tower over the port. Today the city celebrates the opening of the long awaited Titanic Visitor Experience. Here you can re-live the entire titanic story from its birthplace in Belfast to its fateful maiden voyage. Much of the city center is now pleasantly pedestrianised, with benches where you can sit and listen to the street musicians. This afternoon we take a panoramic Belfast Tour.
Overnight & Dinner - The Wellington Park Hotel Belfast
Day 3 - Belfast to Derry
After breakfast this morning our drive takes us along the Antrim Coast. The marine drive north from Larne, and then west past the Giant’s Causeway follows 60 miles of the most beautiful coast you could imagine. The lunar landscape of the Giant’s Causeway, lurking below the gaunt sea wall where the land ends, must have struck wonder into the hearts of the ancient Irish. This mass of some 40,000 basalt columns descending from the headlands into the sea has been Northern Ireland’s most popular attraction for at least 300 years. A visitor’s center explains the causeway’s geological and mythical origins. ‘When the world was moulded and fashioned out of formless chaos, this must have been the bit over - a remnant of chaos.’ – Thackeray.The village of Bushmills, just a few miles southwest of Giant’s Causeway, is the site of the world’s oldest legal whiskey distillery, established in 1608. Tours of the Old Bushmills Distillery detail the distilling process, with samples of its product and a gift shop. We arrive in Derry towards evening and we will have time to relax before we meet for dinner in our hotel. After dinner we will take a leisurely stroll around the walls of Derry.
Overnight & Dinner - The City Hotel Derry
Day 4 - Derry City & Omagh
This morning after breakfast enjoy a tour of Derry City. The story of Derry is a long and tumultuous one. Set on a hill on the banks of the Foyle estuary, strategically close to the open sea, it came under siege and attack for over a thousand years. The great 17th-century walls, about a mile round and 18 feet thick, withstood several sieges and even today are unbroken and complete, with old cannon still pointing their black noses over the ramparts. The great siege lasted for 105 days. Afterwards we travel to Omagh in Co Tyrone to visit The Ulster American Folk Park. The Ulster American Folk Park is a museum of emigration and folk life telling the story of the floods of emigrants who left these shores. Exhibits include “Emigrants” indoor museum. The outdoor site has 26 buildings mostly original Irish thatched and American log structures. Sail away to the new world on board the Brig Union life-sized emigrant sailing ship. Two complete streets on old and new world sites. Daily demonstrations include blacksmithing, spinning, printing and cookery with costumed guides in exhibit buildings. When we arrive back at the hotel, take time to relax until we meet again for dinner.
Overnight & Dinner - The City Hotel Derry
Day 5 - Derry to Galway
After breakfast we head southwest to Galway, traveling through the counties of Donegal, Sligo and Mayo. We stop to view the grave of ‘ William Buttler Yeats’ in Drumcliff Churchyard, in the shadow of Ben Bulben Mountain. Yeats is one of the foremost figures of 20th century literature, founder of the Abbey Theatre and Ireland’s first Nobel Prize winner. We continue on to Galway for a panoramic city tour. This Medieval City is a whirlwind of activity with pubs and restaurants, arts, crafts and culture, full to bursting with things to do and people to meet. We visit Galway Cathedral, see the Spanish Arch and Eyre Square where John F. Kennedy spoke to the people of Galway.
Overnight and Dinner - The Meyrick Hotel
Day 6 - Galway City & Connemara
Having enjoyed breakfast we will depart for today’s tour. To quote Oscar Wilde, “Connemara is a savage beauty”. From the rugged Twelve Bens mountain range in the north through lake-rich Roundstone Bog to the golden beaches reaching out into the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll know you’re in Connemara by the light that constantly changes the mood and tone of the landscape. Connemara has long been regarded as the real emerald of Ireland.We return to Galway City where you have time to browse the shops, especially the bustling pedestrianized Shop Street. We return to our hotel and relax until we meet for dinner.
Overnight & Dinner - The Meyrick Hotel
Day 7 - Galway to Dingle
We depart Galway after breakfast and head south to Dingle and the “Kingdom of Kerry”. En route we stop to view the magnificent Cliffs of Moher which rise 700 feet from the Atlantic and span nearly 5 miles long. We continue on to Killimer where we board the ferry for a short trip across the Shannon River to Tarbert. Continuing on through Tralee, arriving in Dingle in the afternoon. This market town and fishing port, has long been well supplied with pubs and restaurants that are the home to Irish traditional music and food.
Overnight & Dinner- The Dingle Benners Hotel
Day 8 - The Dingle Peninsula
Today’s touring begins after a scrumptious breakfast at your hotel. We begin with a scenic drive along the spectacular Dingle Peninsula with its unforgettable views of the Blasket Islands. We visit the Blasket Centre on the mainland which depicts life on these barren islands. The afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy the ambiance of the town or, if you prefer, you can join us on a visit to Aghadoe in Killarney where we enjoy a delightful view of the famed Lakes of Killarney and a lovely Irish coffee at Macken’s of Ireland famous for their authentic Irish ware. Time is also be available to enjoy a visit to the busy market town of Killarney before returning to Dingle.
Overnight & Dinner - The Dingle Benners Hotel
Day 9 - Dingle to Dublin
After Breakfast we depart Dingle for Dublin. Our first stop is Adare, Ireland’s answer to the cosy English village, where the Third Earl of Dunraven built a street with thatched cottages and hedges at the gates of his early Victorian Manor. History had already endowed the place with an exquisite backdrop to further please the eye - a Norman castle beside the River Maigue and the best collection of ruined mediaeval friaries in Ireland.We travel on to Limerick city on the River Shannon; this bustling modern city has a rich medieval past, which resounds around its ancient streets, made famous in later times by Frank McCourt’s - "Angela’s Ashes“. We arrive in Dublin in the late afternoon.
Overnight & Dinner - The Camden Court Hotel
Day 10 - Dublin City
After a hearty Irish breakfast we depart on a tour of historic Dublin city. In addition to a panoramic tour featuring Dublin’s beautiful Georgian squares and terraces and its main thoroughfares we visit St Patrick’s Cathedral which houses the tomb of the famed Irish poet, Jonathan Swift.Another interesting visit is to Trinity College where you can view the ancient vellum manuscripts of the Book of Kells written in Latin circa 800 A.D. The afternoon is yours to relax and enjoy this friendly city with its abundance of fine stores and restaurants, and of course traditional Irish pubs where you can enjoy a fine pint of Guinness. This evening we take in a performance at Taylor’s Three Rock. From start to finish, this dinner show is based on a living and real traditional Irish culture.
Overnight - The Camden Court Hotel
Day 11 - Depart Dublin to USA
After your full Irish breakfast you leave for your return trip home. There will be ample time for shopping at the Duty Free Store before boarding your flights, taking with you fond memories of your holiday to the Island of Ireland.